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Jessica Ford

ECU Doctoral Student Awarded Competitive, National Scholarship

A prestigious, national scholarship recently was awarded to an East Carolina University student in the clinical health psychology doctoral program. Jessica Ford, a native of Goldsboro, N.C., is the recipient of the 2012 Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship given by the National Defense Education Program and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Ford, who is in her fourth year of the clinical health psychology doctoral program and is expecting to complete her degree in May 2014, is working with ECU faculty member, Dr. Sam Sears, in cardiac psychology.

“Jessica has consistently demonstrated a commitment to a scientist practitioner approach to her work in health psychology, where her training in research and her clinical care mutually enhance one another,” said Sears. “The psychology faculty believe that Jessica is a great representative of East Carolina University’s commitment to produce future health researchers [who are] ready to address the tough research questions related to total health outcomes for North Carolina and this country.”

The SMART program offers scholarships to undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-level students who have demonstrated ability and special aptitude for excelling in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is highly competitive, with only 15 percent of applicants receiving awards.

Through the scholarship, Ford will receive a stipend during her educational training, full tuition and related educational fees, an annual $1,200 health insurance allowance, a yearly book stipend of $1,000, summer internships and a post-graduation career service opportunity.

Upon completing her degree, Ford’s objective is to continue work in the area of mental and behavioral health interventions for members of the active duty military and veterans. She will complete post-doctoral work at the U.S. Army Public Health Command located in Aberdeen, Md.

“I [have] wanted a career helping active duty, or retired military, for a long time,” said Ford. “This fellowship will jump start my career and give me valuable work experience performing health intervention research for the army. So I am ecstatic and also incredibly honored to receive this award.”

Ford received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and sociology from Mount Olive College and her Master’s degree in clinical psychology from East Carolina University.